Social media experts lead interactive online event

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Beginning February 18th, experts in the social media space will share their insight through a series of webcasts and interactive online sessions. Taking place over the course of six weeks, Social Media 201 will help those who are familiar with social media boost their personal or business-related online presence with easy-to-follow sessions.

Each week registrants will be invited to tune into a live webcast, taught by experienced marketing professionals including Geoffrey Colon, Group Marketing Manager, Social Media at Microsoft/Bing Ads, and Kayla Green, Digital Strategy Director at Saatchi & Saatchi. Webcast topics include “10 Habits of Highly Successful Twitter Users”, “Harnessing the Power of Image Driven Platforms” and “Social Media and Mobile”.

For a limited time, Mediabistro is offering 25% OFF the online event with code LOVEMB. Register before 2/14/14 to redeem this offer!

Facebook officially supports hashtags

hashtag300-204Hashtags were rumored to be coming to Facebook earlier this year, but the site officially announced Wednesday that it has added support for the popular Twitter and Instagram staple. Now whenever a Facebook user puts a hashtag in their status update or comment, it connects it to others talking about the same thing.

For instance if you leave a comment on a post, something like “Go #Spurs!”, you can then click the #Spurs hashtag and see the discussion around the keyword on Facebook. This could be huge for Facebook’s Graph Search, which will now allow users to search by keyword.

Several users have reported that hashtags aren’t linked yet, so it appears that this is a gradual rollout by Facebook.

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Announcing the AllTwitter Marketing Bible, Inside Network’s Newest Marketing Resource

ATMB LogoEvery marketer uses Twitter to engage with customers. But there’s more to a successful campaign than simply gaining new followers and increasing your number of tweets.

That’s why we’re thrilled to announce the newest addition to the Inside Network product family: the AllTwitter Marketing Bible.

Whether you’re a first-time user of Twitter for business or an experienced social media marketer, the AllTwitter Marketing Bible is designed to help you build your audience, increase engagement, and improve conversions and customer loyalty.

This comprehensive subscription product is updated weekly with valuable how-tos and best practices, informative case studies, and detailed provider comparisons. This content will help you stay up to date on the latest platform trends and discover great ways to optimize your current Twitter strategy.

Want to learn more? You can sign up for a free trial to get a sneak peak at a few articles, or subscribe to a monthly, quarterly, or annual account for full access.

Facebook acquires Hot Studio design team

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Facebook today announced that it has acquired Hot Studio, a design agency based in San Francisco and New York, to build new tools for brands and businesses on the social network.

According to LinkedIn, Hot Studio has 114 employees. Hot Studio developer Bill Fisher said on Twitter that this is the largest talent acquisition Facebook has ever made. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Hot Studio had been working with the social network on a few projects over the past few months, and Facebook says it recognized a fit between the two companies.

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With Twitter prepping photo filters, Instagram takes action to protect brand

Instagram made a change this weekend that prevents previews of photos posted from the app from appearing on Twitter. Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom confirmed at Le Web that this was intentional so that more users visit Instagram on the web and mobile.

“This is an evolution of just where we are and where we want links from our content to go,” Systrom said.

There is still an easy option for users to share their recent Instagram shots on Twitter, but they appear only as a link rather than as a full photo. It makes sense for Instagram to capture traffic from Twitter and bring users into its platform where they can comment, like or take other actions within its ecosystem — even if the experience is less ideal for users.

But there’s something else at play here. Twitter is rumored to be working on its own photo filtering feature. The New York Times reported this in early November and this weekend AllThingsD reported that the feature could roll out before the end of the year. [Update 12/10/12 3:25 p.m. - Twitter launched filters today.] Instagram’s moves to stop showing its photos within Twitter could be a means of brand protection. It might not want users to confuse Twitter’s stylized photos with its own hallmark of vintage-looking square photos.

For now it seems Instagram will continue to let its images appear natively within other services, giving more reason to believe the company’s issue is with Twitter because of impending competition.

“This is more of a one-off, trying to figure out specifically with our Twitter integration what it should look like,” he said at Le Web. “What we’ve decided is that now what makes sense is to direct users to our new mobile experience.”
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E! Online Adds Live Stream Widget To 61st Emmy Awards Coverage

E! Online supplemented its coverage of the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards with a widget allowing viewers to comment on the proceedings through Facebook or Twitter. The Live Stream widget allowed viewers to share comments before during and after the siring of the Emmy awards. The site integration gave users the ability to view comments by source: Twitter, Facebook or only celebrity Tweets.

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The page was used to cover all aspects of the night’s award ceremony, with red carpet photos and stars’ comments and a running update on winners. Comments were posted on E!’s Live From The Red Carpet page before and during the Emmy Awards presentation, with Facebook and Twitter users chiming in on everything from what the stars were wearing to their reactions when the winners were announced. The widget followed the model from many that have used for live broadcasts by various networks, although there was no option to track only Facebook friends’ posts.

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The pre-show festivities generated a lot of comments through both Facebook and Twitter, but there seemed to be extended lulls in Facebook posts throughout the show. Twitter traffic was heavy all night, but eventually began filling with the usual spam. It’s unclear whether or E! Online was experiencing trouble with their Facebook connection, or if viewers were just more interested in using Twitter to stream their comments.

U.S. Military Mulls Ban On Facebook, But Pentagon Social Media Czar Disagrees

Although the U.S. military has been trying to build a stronger Facebook presence in recent months, new concerns about information security within the Defense Department are causing the armed forces to seriously considering banning Facebook, Twitter and most forms of social networking across the board. The U.S. Strategic Command is concerned that these forms of communication pose a huge security risk to the government’s unclassified NIPRNet network.

In true military tradition, the Marines were the first ones in, implementing a complete ban on social networking on Monday. However, reports say that the Pentagon’s Social Media Czar, Price Floyd, is still moving ahead with making the military more accessible through more open communication across networks like Facebook.

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The proposal may allow for certain units, like those in public relations or recruiting, to continue using “dirty computers” that are connected to the public internet, but not the military networks. All others would be without access to any social networking sites. The Marine Corps ban has a section that covers potential exceptions, as long as access is gained through computers “that are configured in accordance with DISA security technical implementation guides,” so this will probably become the new norm across other armed services.

Floyd is currently still planning to move forward with his initiative, which include blogging and a new Department of Defense web site, set to launch this month, that will feature links to Facebook and Twitter, amongst others.

While the ban only affects the Marines at this point, some sources feel that it’s an inevitability throughout all of the Defense Department and armed services given the open nature of social communication tools. One Strategic Command source told Wired that “they’re just too big of a headache.” Floyd feels that there must be some middle ground that can be reached to ensure security and still tap into the marketing and information available through social networks.

“[Internet] security is important,” Floyd said. “Opsec [operational security] is paramount. We will have procedures in place to deal with that. The DoD is, in that sense, no different than any big company in America. What we can’t do is let security concerns trump doing business. We have to do business… We need to be everywhere men and women in uniform are and the public is. If that’s MySpace and YouTube, that’s where we need to be, too.”

An all-out ban would be a shame, given the amount of time and effort the U.S. Army has put into beefing up its social web presence, going so far as to order bases to open access to sites like Facebook and Twitter less than 2 months ago. Services like Facebook are excellent ways to connect loved ones with soldiers overseas or on remote bases across the country. They’re also an incredible tool for recruiting, but there’s no indication that the Defense Department would stop using social networking for this purpose.

New App fb140 Lets You Find Facebook Friends on Twitter

fb140-logoIf you’re searching for your Facebook friends on Twitter, check out fb140 from Twitter app developer Twables to make the job a little easier.

The service uses Facebook Connect to find and add your existing Facebook friends to your Twitter following list, so you won’t have to hunt through each person’s information to find their Twitter handle. This tool is especially beneficial for those with lots of Facebook friends.

fb140-find-facebook-friends-on-twitter

How does fb140 know how to find Facebook friends on Twitter? It looks at the websites field of your Facebook friends’ profiles to find friends that have listed their Twitter URL. It’s a really simple service for now, but could be a helpful way sync contact lists between Facebook and Twitter for those who want to do so.

New York City’s Office of Emergency Management Turns to Facebook

oem-facebook-launchThe New York City Office of Emergency Management recently launched a Facebook Page to help keep the more than 2 million NYC Facebook users up to date on emergency information, community event listings and volunteer opportunities. Development of the page is the result of a preparedness poll in which more than 50% of people said they use Facebook to stay informed on events around the city.

“OEM’s use of technology to serve the citizens of New York City is an excellent example for other cities and emergency management organizations to follow,” said Chris Kelly, Chief Privacy Officer and Head of Global Public Policy at Facebook. “We’re very pleased that Facebook can play a role in keeping New Yorkers informed and safe.”

Around 450 users have already become fans of the OEM page, which features weekly tips about safety and health around the city. There is also a listing of upcoming events around NYC with the option for fans to confirm their participation in the various fairs, street festivals and forums.

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During the press conference, the NYC OEM also announced their presence on Twitter and the “Ready New York” video series on YouTube. By using these various social tools, the OEM has a much greater chance of informing NYC residents should an emergency arise. Now, with so many users taking advantage of Facebook mobile applications, the OEM now has a way to reach people wherever they may be without having to use the NYC Alert program, which incurs higher costs and has incomplete coverage.

Government communication tools like these are great services that can be incorporated into the existing pages of cities and towns around the country, and may be especially useful in more rural areas where mass media isn’t as prevelant.

SocialToo Wants You to Give Out Its Vanity URLs Instead

Facebook may have just launched its own vanity URL service, but SocialToo is hoping you’ll give out its vanity URLs, which redirect to your Facebook profile, instead. Why?

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The service offers analytics tools that give users valuable information on who’s clicking on the SocialToo vanity URLs, much like other URL shorteners do for web publishers. The new tools will track referring site, browser, and geographic location, with more coming in the future.

When you sign up, you’ll also have the option of adding your Twitter account information to auto follow, unfollow or create surveys in your Tweets. Some of the features and tools are fee-based, but the basic service is free.

With the rush on Facebook vanity URLs this weekend, this service also offers a way to promote a URL with a better vanity URL than you might be able to get on Facebook. But will many disappointed users that aren’t able to grab their own names or business URLs are willing to turn to another service?

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